How to Survive Working in Retail
With so much hardship in the economy right now many people are looking toward jobs that they wouldn’t have given a second glimpse to at another time. Such jobs could include positions as fast food servers, convenience store clerks, and various types of clothing retail associates. Adjusting to life in one of the fields listed above can be a real challenge to people who are used to working in a career setting. How can one get used to dealing with shift work, miserable customers, and long (often times boring) days?
1. Change Your Thinking – Instead of thinking about the sad long hours that you’ll have to put in at the job you don’t particularly care for, think of the time in terms of dollars. Have a five hour shift at ten bucks an hour? That’s a $50.00 day. For a lot of people money provides the right amount of incentive to provide the inspiration to work harder or to just get through the day.
2. Make a Game for Yourself – Set some personal little agenda for yourself each day. See if you can make that miserable customer laugh, or if you can boost your sales to exceed the previous day’s sales. Set any kind of challenge for yourself that you can easily track and reasonably achieve.
3. Stand Up for Yourself – A sad part of retail is that a lot of customers will think that it’s okay to walk all over the employees. They’ll throw tantrums, swear (or otherwise abuse the employees), demand discounts, threaten to leave, et cetera. As an associate or customer service representative, it is your job to maintain peace and to keep customers wanting to come back. There are, however, lines that should not be allowed to be crossed. As a human being you have the right to work without being abused by anyone, and you needn’t tolerate a customer who is downright rude. Stand up for yourself in a professional manner and show a willingness to work with the customer if he/she portrays a proper attitude toward you.
4. Be Creative – Come up with some ideas for ways to improve business, atmosphere, or employee morale. Share your ideas with your boss and volunteer to start new projects. The worst thing to do is to be caught in the position where you just don’t care about your job and can’t wait to get out of there. Try to stimulate your brain a bit.
5. Communicate – Talk to customers and ask questions. Even introverted people can use this technique for some entertainment. Often times asking the right question will get a customer talking on and on, and you might just learn something interesting. If you like someone’s shirt, it’s as easy as saying, “What a nice shirt! Where did you get it?” Not only have you just built some instant rapport with the customer, but you’ve also learned about an interesting place to shop.